Tag: Hugh Weathers

SC State Farmers Market Problems

By Paul Gable
The Legislative Audit Council recently released a report documenting ongoing problems at the SC State Farmers Market in Lexington.

The report was conducted at the request of members of the General Assembly.

The overall conclusion of the report is that the market is unable to sustain itself without the injection each year of taxpayer dollars.

A rebuttal at the end of the report by SC Secretary of Agriculture Hugh Weathers and his department disagrees strongly with the findings.

The SC State Farmers Market has been a political football since the SCDA determined the former market site in Richland County was not viable even though $4.4 million in taxpayer dollars had been spent to develop it.

However, former Agriculture Secretary Les Tindall opposed the relocation because he said the market made money without the need of taxpayer dollars with the help of rent it received on USC football home game days from parking fees.

A resolution to relocate the site passed the SC General Assembly on May 8, 2008. SCDA officials said there was no official commitment to Lexington County until the resolution passed even though an incentive agreement for the new site had been signed by Lexington County and the developer in December 2007.

Anti-Incumbent Fever Rages in Horry County Primaries

Anti-incumbent fever raged through Horry County primaries Tuesday as five of six incumbents running in contested primaries lost.

One of the causes for the upsets, if you can call them that, was the pitiful, approximately 13%, voter turnout countywide.

The only survivor was S.C. House District 56 representative Mike Ryhal who won in a rematch against challenger Dennis DiSabato who Ryhal defeated two years ago to win the new house district seat.

The two biggest surprises of the night were the losses by incumbent S.C. House District 104 representative Tracy Edge and by Horry County District Three council member Brent Schulz.

Small Business Problems at S.C. State Farmers Market

The move of the S.C. State Farmers Market to Lexington County in 2010 is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with S.C. politics.

The battle between Richland County and Lexington County over the new site for the market included allegations against then Rep. Nikki Haley of concealing income from a state contractor on her Statement of Economic Interests.

Haley was exonerated of ethics charges associated with that income by the S.C. House Ethics Committee in June 2012 in what can only be described by anyone who watched the proceedings as a “rigged” hearing.

State Farmer’s Market Controversy Continues

The purchase of land for “Phase Two” of the State Farmer’s Market remains on the political radar of S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers and Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, according to op-eds they each published in state newspapers last month.

A late attempt to get $16 million in the FY 2013 state budget to purchase additional land at the farmer’s market from private interests drew the attention of many familiar with the issue. The Senate proposed the $16 million, but, fortunately, the House wouldn’t agree and the proposed purchase died in conference committee at the end of the legislative year.

State Farmers Market Purchase on Hold

State Farmers Market Purchase on Hold

Expansion of public ownership in the State Farmers Market in Lexington was avoided this year when House members of the budget conference committee would not agree to the $13 million the Senate wanted to appropriate.

S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers asked the General Assembly to appropriate nearly $17 million in this year’s budget to purchase the property. It is owned by Columbia developer Bill Stern who also serves as the chairman of the State Ports Authority.

According to Weathers, the $17 million amount was based on an appraisal provided by Stern. The Senate agreed but the House balked. The Senate came down to the $13 million amount in conference, but the House still wouldn’t agree.